Documentation Published on Friday, 13 January 2023

Three in One: The unique relationship of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit

The unique relationship of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit

The triune God, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is often disputed. However, a logical and comprehensive study of the Bible teaches perfect unity and interaction between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Three persons in one God, they never acted independently. In the next few lessons, we will show the unique relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The problem many have with the doctrine of the Trinity is that they say the word “trinity” does not appear in their Bible. Just because the exact word does not appear, does not mean it is not there, or used. It is just that the original Hebrew and Greek words were translated using other words. The same argument is used for the rapture, as people claim the word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible and therefor the doctrine of the rapture is false. This is a topic for another day.

When we pray, we often make mistakes when we address the three Persons of the Trinity. While I am sure that it will not be called a sin because we made this mistake, we should learn to address the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the correct manner. We can summarise it like this:

  • The Trinity consists of the
    • Father as God (John 6:27);
    • Son as God (Romans 9:5); and
    • Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4).
  • The Father is not
    • Jesus; or
    • the Holy Spirit.
  • The Son is not
    • the Father; or
    • the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is not
    • the Father; or
    • the Son.

Let us start at the beginning. In Genesis 1 we find the word אֱלֹהִים (in Hebrew) which we transliterate as ’elōhîm, meaning God. Elohim is the plural form of “el”. Hebrew has two plural forms: two and more than two. Elohim always means “more than two”, implying three. We see it in this verse:

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. – Genesis 1:26

When we read Genesis 1 and John 1, we see the unique collaboration between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

  1. Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth – Elohim
  2. Genesis 1:2 – The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
  3. John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word – Jesus is always identified as the Word. Note that all things were created by Him (John 1:3)
  4. John 1:14 – The Father is mentioned.

Since John wrote his gospel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16) who as God is omniscient, there is no error or ambiguity.

That the Trinity operates as One, and is one God, is seen here:

4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: – Deuteronomy 6:4

There is no sign of Gods (common English plural) found anywhere. Later on, Paul emphasises the unity by referring to “one God”, as seen in 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; and 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

4As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. – 1 Corinthians 8:4
20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. – Galatians 3:20
5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. – 1 Timothy 2:5-6

One of the most beautiful examples of where the Son is identified with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is this:

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. – Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:18:19

We see the Spirit, Lord God, and me (referring to Jesus) operate together. This was not the prophet Isaiah speaking about himself, but of the coming Messiah. Luke quoted Jesus, who quoted Isaiah.

We need to understand the Oneness and the Threeness of God, and they are revealed in their substance (nature) and their personality. God is one substance but three persons (not people). The Greek word used for substance is homoiousios (ὁμοιούσιος) which consists of two words, “homo” meaning “same” or “similar”, and “ousia” meaning “essence” or “being”. Thus, the nature of the three persons in triune God is the same. whatever God the Father thinks of you, Jesus thinks, and the Holy Spirit agrees with. In terms of the triune nature of God, the three Persons act in manners not shared by the other two. For example, Jesus was crucified, not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, not the Father or Jesus. It is important to attribute the correct attributes to each. However, again they never acted in isolation. Here is one example. When Jesus was baptised, we read this:

16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. – Matthew 3:16-17
  • God the Son, Jesus, was baptised
  • God the Holy Spirit descended on Him
  • God the Father spoke from heaven

In the coming weeks, we will discuss the working of the Trinity in terms of the birth, baptism, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You will then see how each Person in the Trinity acts in unison, undivided, with the sole purpose of showing God’s love for mankind to such an extent that the Father would forfeit His Son for the sake of a lost world.

Your challenge for the week

When you pray, worship, or otherwise communicate with God, focus on which of the Trinity you are addressing at the time, giving that Person the honour that is due to Him. Then, study the Word to see how unique the Christian faith is in the way God shows Himself to us.

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